Poems, in Two Volumes

Poems, in Two Volumes




Published seven years after William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s popular collection Lyrical Ballads, Wordsworth’s Poems, in Two Volumes shocked readers and drew scornful reviews. Poems was a revolutionary challenge to literary taste in revolution-weary times. The poems were perceived as inappropriately personal and egotistical in the attention that the poet pays to “moods of [his own] mind.” The collection is now seen as containing some of the most enduring works of British Romantic poetry, and Wordsworth’s achievement in opening up new worlds of subject matter, emotion, and poetic expression is widely recognized.

Richard Matlak places the initial reaction to Poems in its historical context and explains the sea change in critical and popular opinion about these poems. The extensive historical documents place the poems in the context of Wordsworth’s life, contemporary politics, and the literary world of the early nineteenth century.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781554811243
Publisher: Broadview Press
Publication date: 12/09/2015
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Richard Matlak is Professor of English at the College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Massachusetts.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
William Wordsworth: A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Text

Poems, in Two Volumes

  • Volume I
    Volume II

Appendix A: Love, Money, Marriage, Dorothy

  1. Lines on Dorothy Wordsworth from “Home at Grasmere” (1800-06)
  2. From Thomas De Quincey, “The Lake Poets: William Wordsworth” [1839]
  3. From Dorothy Wordsworth, Grasmere Journal (1802)
    1. On the bitten apple (March 1802)
    2. On William composing the Butterfly poem (March 1802)
    3. On lying as if dead (April 1802)
    4. On listening to Wordsworth and Coleridge read their poems (May 1802)
    5. On the eve of William’s marriage (October 1802)
  4. Wordsworth’s Wedding Band on Dorothy’s Journal Entry

Appendix B: Politics and History

  1. A Fantasy of the French Invasion
  2. Fantasies of Invasion Vessels
  3. Martello Towers
  4. British Popular Art against Napoleon
    1. From The Anti-Gallican, “A Parody on Hamlet’s Soliloquy” (1804)
    2. From The Anti-Gallican, “The British Heroes” (1804)
    3. From The Anti-Gallican, “Parody, Adapted to the Times” (1804)
    4. From The Gentleman’s Magazine, “Song” [“Here’s a health to right honest John Bull”] (1805)
  5. James Willson, A View of the Volunteer Army of Great Britain in 1806 (1807)
  6. Jacques-Louis David, Coronation of Emperor Napoleon I and Coronation of the Empress Josephine in the Notre-Dame de Paris, December 2, 1804 (1807)
  7. George Cruikshank, Crowning Himself Emperor of France (1814)
  8. “The Battle of Trafalgar,” The Gentleman’s Magazine (November 1805)
  9. J.M.W. Turner, The Battle of Trafalgar (1824)
  10. Scott Pierre Nicolas Legrand, Apotheosis of Nelson (1818)

Appendix C: Influence and Poetic Dialogue

  1. Dorothy Wordsworth and the Leech Gatherer
  2. Dorothy Wordsworth and “I wandered lonely as a Cloud”
  3. Manuscript of Wordsworth’s Ode
  4. Coleridge’s “Dejection,” Morning Post (4 October 1802)
  5. Sir George Beaumont, Piel Castle in a Storm (1806)

Appendix D: Family Tragedy

  1. From Naval Chronicle for 1805 [Eye-witness testimony on the sinking of the Abergavenny] (January-June 1805)
  2. The Distress’d State of the Crew of the Abergavenny When She Was Sinking (1805)
  3. The Model Ship Abergavenny
  4. William Wordsworth, “I only looked for pain and grief”
  5. Grisedale Tarn

Appendix E: Critical Backlash

  1. From Unsigned Review [Lord Byron] in Monthly Literary Recreations (July 1807)
  2. From Unsigned Review [Francis Jeffrey] in Edinburgh Review (October 1807)
  3. From Unsigned Review [James Montgomery] in the Eclectic (January 1808)
  4. From Richard Mant, The Simpliciad (1808)
  5. Wordsworth’s Letter to Lady Beaumont (21 May 1807)


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